Archive for December, 2012

Repurposed Reimer

Posted: December 23, 2012 in employment

Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur on What’s Next for The Mountain’s Marty Reimer.

http://mobile.seattletimes.com/story/today/2019939117/track-ip_news_lite-1.2.2-./

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Since last Friday, more than 1,900 of you have watched The Marah Project video. If everyone who’s watched would give just $2.00 (that’s it … 2 bucks) we’d have enough for two full internships with Teens for Public Service. Since this summer when the internship program was set up, more than $22,000 has been raised for The Marah Project.

As many of you know in June, Seattle TV personality Penny LeGate’s daughter, Marah Williams, lost a long battle with drug addiction and depression. From loss comes new outreach and this short documentary aimed at raising awareness and funds for an internship in Marah’s name. Take a few minutes and watch this video I produced with Penny and Mike Williams’s gracious help. They were remarkably open and willing to share in the hopes that something good might one day come from Marah’s passing. Perhaps it will. Perhaps you’ll contribute. We hope so.

http://www.teensinpublicservice.org/get-involved/the-marah-project/

On Monday, watch KING 5’s Evening Magazine for their feature about The Marah Project. Penny LeGate co-hosted the show with Brian Tracy for nine years in the 90’s. “Evening Magazine” airs at 7:00pm Monday on KING 5 (NBC in Seattle). Don’t miss it.

http://www.king5.com/on-tv/evening-magazine

A powerful story told by a gifted writer, National Public Radio’s John Burnett.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/12/167120895/from-a-life-of-crime-to-designing-jewelry-all-in-a-nairobi-slum

Life is cheap where hope is scarce. And here in Nairobi’s Huruma slum you have to look hard to find any hope. So much is discarded here; bottles, cans, tires, plastic but mostly people.

John Kangara Mucheru
Project Manager Zakale Creations

42 year-old John Kangara Mucheru knows this. He’s lived in Huruma all his life. But Mucheru looks for use in everything. The word Zakale means “re-use” in Swahili, the cultural language of Kenya. And that’s exactly what he’s done with bottles, cans, tires, plastic but mostly people.

People like 28 year-old Milton Obote. Ten years ago, Milton was playing pick-up soccer, smoking marijuana and burglarizing homes. Until he met John Mucheru. While watching a Humura pick-up soccer game Milton and his friends were playing, Mucheru noticed the artistry with which Milton played the game. “Futbol (soccer) is what I eat”, says Obote. But John Mucheru didn’t like the company Obote kept. He saw something special in the teenager that everyone else had overlooked. If they even looked at all.

Milton Obote – Zakale Creations

The two started talking. John challenged Milton to do something with that artistic side. He gave the teen a piece of wire and asked him to “design something.” Obote brought back a beautifully created hand. Soon, John invited Milton to work for him at Zakale Creations, based right here in Huruma. He knew Milton and didn’t like to see boys like him waste their lives. Perhaps he saw a little bit of himself.

John used to be involved in gangs, petty theft, some robbery. “It wasn’t my wish”, says Mechuro. “I had no alternative.” In a place like Huruma you do anything to survive. Something happens to a person when you’re packed into a place of extreme poverty with 60,000 others. The word Huruma in Swahili (one of Kenya’s official languages) means, sympathy. Some who live here think Huruma is just another word for “madhouse”.

Huruma, Nairobi

Mucheru doesn’t remember anything good about Christmas as a child. No fond memories. “I never got a Christmas present. I was orphaned when both my parents died when I was three.” Today, John Mucheru is turning that around. Today, the ornaments his young men and women at Zakale Creations make are sold to a company called Heavenly Treasures. That company in turn, sells them to World Vision where they are offered in the charity’s Gift Catalog.

Ornament Set
World Vision Gift Catalog

Now each Christmas, John Kangara Mucheru throws a big party for hundreds of his neighbors in Huruma. “Christmas is time for sharing what you have with those who have nothing,” says Mucheru. His young men and women welcome visitors with a ceremonial dance.

They are energetic, happy and appear full of hope. And today, Milton Obote is married with a young daughter and hopeful he can land more design work.

“Zakale Creations,” Mucheru says, “is about creating new life.” What better time of year to find that new life in the discarded bottles, can, tires, plastic but mostly people. Here in the maddening heart of despair, John Mucheru has found a way to deliver a tiny piece of hope.

Zakale Creations employees welcome visitors in song and dance

Zakale Creations employees
welcome visitors in song and dance

http://www.heavenlytreasures.org/contentpages.aspx?parentnavigationid=2619&viewcontentpageguid=53959e0e-fe70-431b-97b0-2c5e6bd92982